Take a look at the featurette below in which director Guillermo del Toro takes the viewer inside the four story practical sets that served as the giant robot heads in his upcoming epic monsters vs. robots movie, Pacific Rim.
Source : ign[dot]com
Take a look at the featurette below in which director Guillermo del Toro takes the viewer inside the four story practical sets that served as the giant robot heads in his upcoming epic monsters vs. robots movie, Pacific Rim.
Many film critics are claiming that the new sci-fi movie After Earth -- directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Will and Jaden Smith -- is really propaganda for the controversial religion Scientology.
The Hollywood Reporter rounded up observations made by numerous media outlets, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal, who claim to see unsubtle Scientology references, imagery and messaging in the movie.
In After Earth, controlling one's emotions, particularly fear, is the key to the survival of this futuristic society, behavior which many critics see as a nod to some of the tenets of Scientology. (Although he's never openly said he was a member, rumors have swirled for sometime now that Will Smith was a Scientologist.)
THR points out this passage in Manohla Dargis' review at the NY Times: "Casual students of Scientology may find their ears pricking up at those maxims because fear and its overcoming receive a lot of play in Dianetics, a foundational text by the creator of Scientology, the pulp science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard."
Likewise, The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern labeled After Earth a "sermon" on Scientology: "Is that the production's subtext, or are there reasons yet to be uncovered why humor and humanity have been essentially banished; why everyone looks pained; why the very notion of entertainment has been banished in favor of grinding didacticism, and why Mr. Smith, who has been such a brilliant entertainer over the years and decades, looks as if he has undergone a radical charismaectomy?"
Morgenstern even went so far as to link the film to Scientology's greatest big screen misfire: Battlefield Earth, starring Scientologist John Travolta. Another recent film that some have claimed is a veiled homage to Scientology? Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, who is perhaps the religion's most famous member.
Hot on the heels of the news that Glenn Close has joined the cast of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, THR is reporting that former Doctor Who star, Karen Gillan, has also boarded the project. Director James Gunn is filling out the cast as they gear up for the start of production in the UK in late June.
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista are set to star with Lee Paceand Michael Rooker stepping in as the film's villans. Gillan would reportedly join the latter bunch as Guardians' lead female villainess. Details are scarce on the exact nature of her character, though. The actress is most famous for playing Amy Pond in the 5th through mid 7th season of BBC's Doctor Who.
We will keep you updated as details emerge.
A few months ago, I excitedly posted a Hero Worship column about Robert Redford being cast in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, calling it “one of the greatest things [to happen] to superheroes.” While I maintain that sentiment, my mind was once again blown apart by the latest Guardians of the Galaxy casting news, in which Glenn Close reportedly joined the cast as, get this, the leader of the Nova Corps.
Forget the fact that we’re going to get a Nova Corps in the same movie as a badass gun-toting raccoon, but the idea that an actor like Close is in the same movie as former WWE Superstar Batista is enough to melt brains. Not that the crop of actors in Marvel Phase One were unremarkable, but it’s interesting to watch the paradigm shift from the “type” of actors that make appearances in these movies. I suppose the precedent was set, to a degree, with Marlon Brando in Superman: The Movie, but even then that was nothing more than a glorified cameo with no repeat performance.
Giving Close a role that’s been described as the cosmic version of Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury is a pretty big deal, as she’d potentially be a connective thread between Marvel cosmic properties. With the Marvel flicks becoming such huge successes, it’s kind of fascinating to see what renowned actors gravitate toward these roles. Obviously it’ll be a decent pay day, but the question I’m more interested in is if they’re being considered a more viable piece of cinema in terms of artist value.
Of course, Close is no stranger to genre movies herself; she’s played against her rep as an actor’s actor on many occasions. Mars Attacks, Hook, 101/102 Dalmatians, and The Simpsons all spring to mind. Perhaps this is simply her next jaunt into that sort of territory.
In any case, it’s quite clear at this point that Guardians of the Galaxy is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating films of recent years, purely from a production standpoint. Not only is it asking audiences to accept bizarre characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot, but it’s smashing together renowned thespians (Close) with action movie veterans (Zoe Saldana) with on-the-verge TV-to-movie stars (Chris Pratt) with C-movie action stars/former wrestlers (Batista).
The cast is certainly eclectic, and piled atop the risk of being a sci-fi fantasy with no bankable money-maker names, this is going to be one fascinating journey to watch unfold.
Like I’ve said before, Guardians is already the boldest of not only any Marvel movie, but any superhero movie to date. It’s stretching the boundaries of every aspect of modern summer moviemaking; from an untested franchise to untested characters to untested actors, this is truly going to be the movie that makes or breaks how far and how quickly the Marvel franchise can expand.
And hey, even if it falters, it will always earn recognition in my mind for giving me Glenn Close as a protector of the universe.
oey is a Senior Editor at IGN and a comic book creator. Follow Joey on Twitter @JoeyEsposito, or find him on IGN at Joey-IGN. After Man of Steel comes out, his life will lose all sense of direction and purpose.
Don't get all bent out of shape in a Meereenese Knot, it's time for another Game of Thrones Mailbag!
With a big episode coming our way this Sunday, "The Rains of Castamere," we wanted to help clarify a few things that y'all might be scratching your heads over. Yesterday, we lit the biggest fire the North has ever seen and asked for you guys who haven't read the George R. R. Martin Game of Thrones books to submit any questions you had about the HBO series. The idea here is that, with all the new faces and places being introduced each season, we don't want anyone to get left behind.
Now, onto the questions...DRACARYS!
Nii asks: "What's taking Alliser Thorne so long in delivering the weight walkers hand to king Joffrey?"
It Is Known: That is a mighty fine question considering that he was tasked with this back at the end of Season 1. We can only assume, just having watched Arya try to make it even halfway back to Winterfell for two seasons that it takes a long long while to go from Castle Black to King's Landing and that Ned Stark's trek from Winterfell and Yoren trip from the Wall, back in Season 1, were sped along in order to get them to places at certain points in the story. Also, there's been a war going on since the end of Season 1, so that could also account for Thorne's slow-ish travels.
Saleem asks: (from Twitter): "Do you know where Jon and the Wildings are going after having climbed over the wall? I guess it's Castle Black but I thought that was adjacent to the wall."
It Is Known: One of the things that I'm not sure the show has made clear is how long the Wall is, and how many Night's Watch castles are actually connected to it. The opening credits just show Castle Black, but that's just the castle right in the middle of the Wall. The Wall stretches coast-to-coast and there are actually 17 castles all along it. But with the Night's Watch's numbers at an all time low, only a few of them are actually manned. So there are plenty of abandoned castles for the Wildlings to climb up next to, and then use to get down on the other side. Tormund actually asked Jon which castles still had people in them so that he could use one of the abandoned ones to go over the Wall. So they just came down in a different spot, to the side of Castle Black some ways out.
Thomas asks: "Is Ghost still with Jon Snow? We haven't seen him recently. Also, do the other members of the Watch know that he is under cover?"
It Is Known: The other members of the Watch do not know Jon is undercover. The last Watch member Jon was in contact with was Qhorin Halfhand, and then Jon killed him. Ghost is never far away from Jon, but he's also not "at his side." Ghost, being the only Stark direwolf to get behind the Wall, is taking advantage of his natural habitat and running around. The last person to see him was Sam; which might even suggest that Jon and Sam were close to one another at some point during Jon's travels with the Wildlings, or that Ghost sought out Sam after Jon scaled the Wall.
Vincent asks: "Theon's torturer? Who exactly is that guy, I don't really remember seeing him in previous seasons?"
It Is Known: I'll mostly avoid this question because the show will reveal his identity probably very soon. Why they've kept is a secret on the show? I'm not totally sure. Perhaps it's because they couldn't keep the secret that was a big surprise in the books, that Theon was tortured for a long time in cruel ways, because it would mean making Theon, and actor Alfie Allen, vanish from the show for seasons. So, in order to still keep things somewhat mysterious, they've opted to keep the torturer's identity secret. He was referred to back in Season 2, but not by name.
Nerla asks: "What makes Dany think she will be a better Queen of the Seven Kingdoms? Yes, she freed slaves and that's a major achievement. But I wonder what happens after she leaves these cities? Maybe I'm over thinking it?!!"
It Is Known: This is also a question that I'll mostly dance around since it has to do more with Dany's internal motivations and less about details that people might have missed. She wants to be Queen because she feels it's her right, lineage-wise. She thinks she'll make a good Queen because...well, she's Dany. Of course, she is still in a big "trail and error" phase, but her dragons, and her ideals, give her extreme confidence. That being said, expect the show to kinda/sorta answer your question more concretely very soon.
Joe asks: "How many Dothraki are left at this point in the story with Daenerys? Do other Dothraki tribes exist and if so does she still control them? Are we to assume that only Daenerys’ inner circle are what’s left of her tribe or are there Dothraki fighting in her campaign."
It Is Known: The Dothraki totally still exist over in Vaes Dothrak and the Dorthraki Sea. The ones Dany has with her still are, yes, the few loyal ones who remained at her side from Khal Drogo's horde. There are still thousands of Dothraki out there, and other Khals even, that Dany doesn't control. In fact, they'd probably kill the self-proclaimed Khaleesi on site. Back at the beginning of Season 2, while lost in the desert, she sent out riders in different directions.The Dorthraki bloodrider she sent northeast, Rakharo, came back without his head and his braid cut off. Jorah presumed it was done by Khals Pono or Jhago to show their contempt for a female leading a Khalassar.
Har-el asks: "Will Dorne ever be featured in the series after being mentioned for the past 3 seasons?"
It Is Known: Dorne will most definitely be on the show, but probably not before we see characters from Dorne make their appearances. In fact, George R. R. Martin recently confirmed that Prince Oberyn Martell will be one of the new characters in Season 4. The Martells are the ruling family - ala The Starks - of Dorne.
The next Game of Thrones episode, "The Rains of Castamere," airs Sunday, June 2nd on HBO.
If you’ve read the books and want a spoiler-safe place to discuss your thoughts, please visit IGN's Game of Thrones wiki. While you’re there, feel free to contribute key differences you see between the TV and book version of the lore. If you comment on this article, please be mindful of others who haven’t read ahead and stick to discussion of what’s been aired. Thanks!
Tune in for the latest episode of Tech Fetish, IGN's consumer electronics and technology podcast. This week, hosts Scott Lowe, Justin Davis, and Mark Ryan Sallee discuss the latest news about Microsoft's Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, as well as Razer's new Blade gaming laptop, Google's rumored X Phone, and the return of the Start button to Windows 8.1.
More than one year following the release of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the state of Rhode Island continues to investigate the aftermath of developer 38 Studios, and is now exploring the possibility of forgiving the debt incurred by the developer's destruction. The Chafee administration is collecting plenty of new data, according to Providence Journal, that better informs the state's next step in repaying lenders.
Thousands of pages of documents acquired via a public information request could better guide a House panel's decision to not repay the debt, or pursue its "moral obligation" to repay those burned by the failed investment, despite the fact that the state isn't legally obligated to do so.
“The perception out there is that we haven’t been doing anything,” said Michael J. Marcello, House Oversight Committee Chairman. “But the fact of the matter is we’ve gathered a ton of documents and we haven’t had a hearing because we just got the documents.”
A decision must be made, one way or the other, by July 1 as to whether Governor Chafee will allocate $2.5 million of the state's budget to a 38 Studios debt payment.
38 Studios closed in May 2012 following its bankruptcy testimony last July. The studio’s assets became property of Rhode Island in August, and 38 Studios sought dismissal of the state's suit against the Amalur developer.
It's been a long time since Adult Swim viewers heard the cry "Go Team Venture!" The Venture Bros. wrapped up the second half of Season 4 way back in 2010. Aside from the odd special episode like "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy" and "A Very Venture Halloween," all has been quiet on the Venture front since then. But that doesn't mean creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer haven't been hard at work this whole time.
Venture Bros. Season 5 finally kicks off this Sunday with the premiere episode "What Color is Your Cleansuit?". We had the opportunity to chat with Publick and Hammer to find out what this season has in store for the Venture family, how the Halloween special fits into the equation, and whether fans will have to wait another three years for Season 6.
IGN TV: It's been a little under three years now since the second half of Season 4 aired on Adult Swim. But from your perspective, how much actual downtime was there before starting Season 5?
Jackson Publick: [laughs] It was like a week.
Doc Hammer: Yeah, this week feels like the first downtime. It's not, really, because we're making T-shirts and doing interviews. [note - check out Jackson's blog for more information on the return of the Venture Bros. Shirt of the Week Club.]
Publick: And tonight we have to go to a screening. Well, “have to” isn't the right word, because we really enjoy it. We're looking forward to a screening.
IGN TV: Where exactly are you in the production process for Season 5? Have you pretty much wrapped it up now?
Publick: Yeah, like two months ago.
Hammer: We're just waiting for it to be on TV.
Publick: The is the beginning of the Season 6 stuff now.
IGN TV: I understand there's going to be a feature-length movie bridging the gap between the two. Have you started really working on that now?
Hammer: That's actually no longer true. We decided to move straight into Season 6 so that people wouldn't have to wait another two-and-a-half years.
Publick: That's a mistake. So we took all the ideas and we're rolling it into the season.
IGN TV: Does the fact that Adult Swim gave you the go-ahead for Seasons 5 and 6 at the same time mean there's going to be less of a gap this time?
Publick: Yeah, we have our production stuff that's making more sense to us. There are a lot of factors that'll make the next season come out a little quicker than they usually do.
IGN TV: I've heard that this premiere episode was the last one of the season you guys actually worked on. Was it difficult at all to get back into that mindset of immediately post-season 4 after having worked on most of Season 5?
Publick: [laughs] Not really. I mean, we were sitting on half the ideas all season long. We knew there were certain things we had to accomplish in it. It was actually finding the time with each other, because once we got into production we were trading off scripts. And we'd rarely be done with a script at the same time so that we could jump on one together. I guess it was a little tricky, because it was the one episode where you have a laundry list of things to do in, because of what we did later on in the season – the seeds we had to plant and the things we had to answer for from the prom episode.
Hammer: And also, you get a different premiere when you write it last. When you write it right out of the gate there are so many things you want to do. When you write it last, you've already done a lot of that, so you don't have to answer a lot of questions. You can make a breezier, more thematic, ancillary episode that we don't usually get to make. The premiere is its own thing.
Publick: It took us a little while to find the story, too.
Hammer: We were talking about how to make the story work.
Publick: Yeah, yeah. You don't want to start writing an episode with a to-do list, you know? Whereas we had ideas for half a dozen other different episodes. The story was all set and we were excited to tell this particular story. With the premiere, it took a little while to find the episode-specific, inspiring story we wanted to tell.
IGN TV: There was also the Halloween episode you put out last October, which wound up having some teases for what would happen in the premiere. Were you guys looking to put that special out there and sort of leave the fans wondering about things like why Sergeant Hatred has breasts and why Dean's going through a goth phase all of a sudden?
Hammer: The Halloween episode takes place during the act break of the premiere. After the first half hour, the Halloween special should be viewed, and then go back...
Publick: Actually, it's the first commercial break, so after the first eleven minutes... [laughs] watch the Halloween special and then go back to the premiere. Because the premiere takes place over the course of several months. We didn't set out to confuse people, but we were aware that's what would happen if aired the Halloween episode in time for Halloween before any of the other episodes. We had started writing it as part of the season, and then we decided to give it special holiday status. But I thought it was kind of fun to just drop you in the middle of an ongoing story and go "What the hell is going on?" And to have people wonder "Are they wearing costumes because it's Halloween? What's the deal?"
Continue on for more Team Venture...
We loved the final issue, we saw the celebration of his run, and we remembered our favorite moments of the entire series, but now we hear from the (former) writer of Green Lantern himself, Geoff Johns.
Beware of spoilers for the entire run and the events of the finale in Green Lantern #20!
IGN Comics: Let’s jump right into it. Where was Hal Jordan when you started your run on Green Lantern and how do you see him now that you’re done?
Geoff Johns: Wow, when we started he was so far away from who he was and who he used to be, wasn’t he? Looking back to the mindset of where he was, he had essentially been a supervillain. He had been corrupted, he had been acting very irrational, very insane, but in the context of the story, he was somebody who was still struggling with fear about both the people he cares about and himself and everything.
For me in Green Lantern #20, it was the scene where it’s him and himself that kinda closed that door for me and he seems to move on completely. It gives him what he needed in that moment and vice versa. Seeing himself gave him the strength and the will and the courage to move forward, so it was very full circle for me from Rebirth #1 to Green Lantern #20. I think Hal Jordan is somebody who has gone through so many different trials and recognizes who he is and why he does what he does. I use the term “self awareness” a lot and I think that’s something a lot of people struggle with to have, and I think Hal Jordan has definitely come full circle and has that.
IGN: In the same vein, Sinestro started in a very different place than where he ended. Could you speak to Sinestro’s arc, as well?
Johns: In Rebirth he had been thought dead, and he was a villain Hal fought a lot and obviously as a Green Lantern helped train him, but I think Sinestro ironically learned a new kind of heroism through his journey and ultimately took a role I think he had to, maybe reluctantly, or I think he lies to himself a little bit, saying this is an okay path for him, but I think he knows he’s gone way off the path.
His relationship with Hal Jordan is a personification of his relationship with heroism and the Green Lantern Corps. When he says at the end, “That’s the tragedy of all this, we’ll always be friends,” that’s him showing he has an emotional connection to Hal and the Corps. Whatever his original intention was, he’ll never be able to go back to it, it’ll never be what it was, he’ll never be able to heal the rift, he’ll never be able to be the hero he truly envisioned himself being. But that makes him so much more compelling to me. I think the character is just ultimately an incredibly complex, interesting character.
IGN: By the end of the series, can you really still call him a villain?
Johns: It’s hard. He killed the Guardians in cold blood.
IGN: Hal Jordan killed the Guardians and he made it back around to being a hero.
Johns: Absolutely, yeah, but he was also a supervillain.
IGN: [laughs] That’s true.
Johns: I think it’s tricky. I think you can argue about it, and that’s what makes him such a juicy character and interesting villain to me. You can argue that he’s still a hero in some way, and I think that’s correct.
IGN: By the end, the Guardians had become the antagonists of the series. Does that give him a break that he killed characters that were bad guys?
Johns: You understand why he does what he does. This is the single greatest threat the universe has ever faced and potentially could face again, and he wanted to prevent that. So he had to make the hard choice that no one else would make. There’s some heroism in the act, but it’s also murder and it’s a blurry, blurry line that Sinestro walks. Sometimes you root for him and sometimes he’s doing really awful things, but that’s who he is. He’s not afraid to cross the line because he defines the line for himself, and this was just, in his mind, justice.
He’s not afraid to cross the line because he defines the line for himself.
You also have to understand that in his mind he’s emotionally blinded by grief. The destruction of Korugar is his ultimate failure. The one thing he set out to do is protect his planet and he failed at it. At the end of his journey, he actually failed at that. I think that’s why he opened up to Hal at the end. I think that’s why he’s so brutal with the Guardians. I think that’s why he decides to leave, to remove himself from the equation.
But he also shows some mercy on Ganthet and Sayd. I think one of the most surprising things for me when I was breaking out the story was -- when I got to the Ganthet and Sayd scene with Sinestro and Larfleeze -- Sinestro really giving Ganthet and Sayd a second chance, a chance I think he wished he had because, like he said, he knows what it’s like to lose it all and there’s a heartbeat in there somewhere. Obviously, Sinestro is an emotional guy and if he shows mercy with Ganthet and Sayd then there’s still hope that one day there’s a way to redeem himself. I don’t know if you read too close, but there’s a lot of hints about who that Bookkeeper is [in Green Lantern #20].
IGN: Isn’t it Sinestro?
Johns: Yeah, it is.
IGN: [laughs] Okay, just making sure. And going on with Sinestro, he created the Sinestro Corps with yellow fear energy, which allowed all of the other colored Corps to come spinning out of Sinestro Corps War. That’s when the Green Lantern mythology really got cracked open. What was your original vision for the different colored Corps? And how did you approach making the “Rainbow Brigade” something that readers would get invested in and not think is cheesy?
Johns: On the surface the idea could be very silly, but what makes it work is that it’s based in something believable. It’s the concept that Green Lantern is a part of life and this light is representative of life and all the different emotions are represented. It’s not just about the different colors, it’s about emotion.
It’s not just about the different colors, it’s about emotion.
For me, the mythology really started when Parallax became the living yellow impurity that was trapped in the lantern and it was all about fear. Sinestro’s ring tied into that, and we mention the emotional spectrum in Rebirth #1 and Black Hand is there as a setup for the black, the antithesis of life. It all started right there. The seeds were right there and they grew with the Star Sapphire fitting in organically. It made sense for them to be pulled in and use their violet energy, so I targeted Carol, who is undeniably Hal Jordan’s true love. It grew out of there, and the key, I think, was doing it slowly. And letting Sinestro Corps be it’s own thing, and making the Indigo Tribe mysterious, giving them layers.
There’s a reason there’s so much history to [the Indigo Tribe] because I find compassion to be very complex and it can make people very cynical to try and embrace, but the Corps are all represented by how I view each emotion. The Green Lanterns are very forward and very courageous, very forceful. The Red Lanterns are out of control and they’re not in their right mind because when we’re angry or in rage, we say things and we do things we wouldn’t normally do. For me, compassion is elusive and it takes a lot of heart to feel compassion, and so I wanted that Corps to be representative of that and have layers of mystery and ask “What is compassion? What is it really? Is it a learned emotion? Or a born emotion?”
They all just kind of became their own personification of, again, my own viewpoint of the emotions. The characters are the ones I think that sold it, Larfleeze and Saint Walker and Indigo and Carol and Sinestro and Atrocitus -- those are the characters that really made it work. It’s not just the power but the character and the core of that character.
IGN: Did you ever imagine when you were creating these characters that they would take off like this? Red Lanterns has its own series. Larfleeze became so popular he’s getting his own series.
Johns: I never in my wildest imagination would have thought that it would spin-off this big. I think it’s five books now [Green Lantern, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns, and Larfleeze].
IGN: This is a nine year run, which is very epic for comic book readers. Since your run began, Green Lantern has had blockbuster sales success in comics, it’s had a movie, an animated series, and video games -- which is definitely not nothing. I know you’re known for being modest, but can you speak to what you brought to Green Lantern that allowed for all of this success?
Johns: I have to throw that back to all the people I’ve worked with and everyone that read the book because it takes so many people to make a comic book, especially if it grows into this universe. It’s people who talk about it and share it. For me, when I hear people at conventions tell their friends what their Blue Lantern shirt means and how they should check this book out, that’s where it came from. It came from discussion and being embraced by the readers.
I’m very happy, very proud of the run. I’m very, very fortunate to have something like that on my bookshelf that I worked on. The credit goes to [Patrick] Gleason and Doug [Mahnke] and Ivan [Reis] and Peter Tomasi and Dave Gibbons and everyone who worked on the book while I was on the book. And it’s thanks to all the readers who shared their experience with their friends and fellow comic readers that it took hold. It took a whole Corps to put this book out. I always talk about the camaraderie of the Corps and it takes it’s representation from the comic community itself, so it’s a pretty cool thing.
IGN: Excellent, great, that was the last question. Thank you so much, Geoff. And congratulations on behalf of me personally and IGN and all of our readers who love your book.
Johns: Thanks man, and thanks for all the kind words.
Joshua writes for IGN and likes to think he was the inspiration for Simon Baz. Join him in some Ratwaffle cheese and follow him on Twitter or IGN to let him know how you liked the Green Lantern finale.
For the gaming crowd, Xbox One debuted to varying degrees of disdain and indifference. But what about those who are actually making the games for Xbox One? What about the box, its guts, and its features excites them, and how did the announcement affect their teams?
IGN spoke with a handful of game developers about the Xbox One. Here's what they had to say:
I’m excited for the next generation of games. Not just the horsepower, but the services both parties are building around it. When we went down and looked at what our pillars for Destiny would be -- which, by the way, have existed since 2009 -- and then looked at their pillars in candid conversations we were having...they’re almost like a mirror with each other. Shared stories, building your legend, living worlds that feel alive instead of a disc in a drive, spaces that are fundamentally cooperative. All those things line up so well with next-gen messaging. It was exciting for us to see that something we were building was not only fundamentally next-gen without the hardware, but we sort of became the de facto tip-of-the-spear for next-gen by nature of what we were building. I think that’s a really fun place to be...
No real standouts except the dog. The dog was my big takeaway.
Let's see. I heard more marketing buzzwords than I expected to. I heard a lot about the living room and the TV being super important, which seemed weird given this was a game console. Then there was a bunch more marketing talk telling me how great my end-user experience would be. Never again would I need to switch sources. Then I heard I would get to talk to my console to turn it on. Which I'd frankly not do. I do enough embarrassing s*** in the course of the day - talking to my console is one step too far.
Then the games. I thought everything looked over-filtered and CG. Call of Duty was the best of the bunch. No real standouts except the dog. The dog was my big takeaway. I heard nothing about making self-publishing on the platform easier, nothing about the indie or online strategy, nothing about always-on. Also little about why we, the gamers, should not worry about the fact that in the age of iPads and iPhones and mobile everything, where most of us watched their conference not on TV but on phone or laptop, that their strategy seems to run counter to our user/consumption patterns.
But I will still buy one. :)
What kind of console announce only offers bad news for gamers?
I do most of my console gaming on Xbox 360, so I’ve certainly been tuned in to the long-awaited announcement of the next-gen. It’s actually kind of hard to tell from the “announce” so far what the console gaming experience is going to be like – I don’t personally care at all about all the TV stuff, completely uninterested, so I guess I’m still in a holding pattern.
I was a little sad to hear that I won’t be able to play my 360 games on it (and what kind of console announce only offers bad news for gamers?) since that will presumably mean I’ll have to maintain an operational Xbox 360 in parallel. Hopefully my Xbox Live account at least carries over and I’ll have unified Gamer Points and stuff… having to start over at zero would be getting into borderline rage-quit territory for me. :-)
We are excited about the potential of X1 and look forward to speaking with Microsoft on how Shadow of the Eternals will be made available on their platform.
It's a pinnacle year in the video game industry. Xbox One allows new possibilities for dynamic gameplay like what you'll find in Watch Dogs. It also goes beyond gaming innovation to attract entertainment enthusiasts and welcome new audiences to grow the industry.
I’m always pretty stoked on any new console. It’s been 8 years since the last Xbox and it still boggles my mind that it still holds up. Stuff like more horsepower and awesome graphics are expected. What gets me excited is any possible new business model that may come up for independent developers. Right now that’s being held close to the vest but I’m hoping they take Sony’s lead and figure out a proper venue for that.
The new Kinect is going to be really interesting. I think the first Kinect was fun for what it was but it was always the “first pancake”. It worked and all but it’s really the next pancake that is awesome. The stuff I’ve seen so far seems like it’s delivering the promise from a few years back. The hope is that the granularity of control is improved to the point where developers are making games they really want to make with awesome feedback as opposed to altering the controls to work within the limitations. I can see this truly blowing things up.
What do you make of these creators' thoughts? Continue the conversation in the comments below, and read other developers' comments on the PlayStation 4 here.
The last year has seen a lot of great innovations for digital publishing, from a focus on digital-first titles at DC Comics to the innovation of Marvel's Infinite Comics. But one young digital publishing company that's headed up by some very notable comic book names, Madefire, is trying to push innovation in digital storytelling even further.
Their "Motion Books" format incorporates animation and sound design that is at the reader's control as far as pacing goes, so as to completely immerse them in the experience. For an example of how it works, check out this video:
Thus far, creators like Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Steve Niles, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Carey, Haden Blackman, and many more have contributed content to the app, with some exciting new projects on the way. And the best part? In addition to the free Madefire app, everything is totally free-to-read.
We talked with co-founder and comic book veteran Liam Sharp and Madefire editor Ben Abernathy -- who spent ten years at DC Comics handling books like Ex Machina, Astro City, The Authority, and Red -- about the Madefire experience, what it offers as a storytelling format, and what they've got coming up in 2013.
IGN Comics: In the simplest terms, what is the goal of Madefire?
Ben Abernathy: To deliver hands-down the best digital reading experience.
Liam Sharp: That’s really key! Reading, not watching. We don’t want our books to be passive, but rather something you interact with…
IGN: So why go this route of "motion books"? What does this format offer, storytelling wise, that traditional publishing cannot?
Sharp: Other companies nailed the basic comic-on-an-iPad format—and given the route all other media are going it was inevitable, and practical too. You can take a thousand albums, novels and comics on holiday with you now! But we thought—you know, why treat a mobile device like a piece of paper? It’s much smarter than that. And once you go that way, and start thinking about the options you might like if more options are available to you, a new medium starts to emerge.
Sound was a real eye-opener—and you can turn it off if you don’t like it. You also don’t need the top left to bottom right linear progression as story points are revealed in layers. The panorama tool puts you right inside a picture!
And as a creator myself I found all these new possibilities really exciting—and surprising! Dave Gibbons coined the term ‘we’re creating a new grammar’, and it really feels like that. Every day there’s another surprise.
IGN: Coming from traditional comics, what kind of adjustment was involved with working in this new format?
Abernathy: Honestly, from an editorial perspective not terribly much. There were obvious aspects that I adjusted to like the review process at each step of a motion book and even production issues like file delivery and specs, but at the end of the day it’s storytelling, words and pictures—which is where I came from.
And the transition was eased a bit, too, in that while my first 9 years at DC were spent with WildStorm, the last year-and-a-half was in the DC Digital Group so my head was already thoroughly inundated in that space.
Sharp: For me it was like having a new tool box—it opened up everything. We were also lucky to have Kinman Chan join us on the incredible Treatment: Tokyo book he drew. His background wasn’t in comics, so his process went straight from his film work to this revelation of layers.
He broke down our understanding of traditional comic storytelling in one fell swoop. In many ways we have to un-learn everything we have become adjusted to if we are to really make the most of this new medium.
IGN: We're seeing companies like Marvel explore the digital canvas a bit more with their Infinite comics. Do you see what they're doing as competition, or are you guys striving for a different audience?
Abernathy: I’m excited with what they’re doing and what they’re pushing the storytelling to become. There’s definitely audience crossover but for our Madefire “Studio” content I don’t see it as a competition for the same group of people and, really, the platform is significantly different.
The Motion Book is more immersive, using sound and limited motion to create a very different reading experience all together. Ultimately, their material is so different from ours and the audience for digital content so vast there’s an appetite for all manner of story.
IGN: Other publishers have been releasing their digital books in print as well. Any plans for that here?
Abernathy: That’s a great question and one we’re asked frequently. It’s something we’ve definitely discussed internally and my personal desire would be to release as collected editions, bypassing periodicals, but we’ve got a ways to go until we’ve got enough content to flesh out a book… but I expect more serious conversations on this point next year.
Sharp: Yes, we’re all from print backgrounds, so we’re very keen to see that down the line. The book of the motion book! It’ll be interesting to see how we reformat the work into something for print…
IGN: How did the creators you work with get involved with Madefire?
Abernathy: The creator base we have and launched with was all Liam. I’ve brought a few people in the door but he’s really been the driving force to date.
Sharp: I’ve been drawing and writing comics for 26 years, so I know a lot of the industry stalwarts! And I had some help from our official Madefire ambassadors — Dave Gibbons and Bill Sienkiewicz. And the honest truth is — they jumped at it!
Creators are, by their very nature, visionary. And having all this new stuff to play with—it’s exciting! And it’s challenging! I think every creator likes a new challenge. We’re storytellers, and it doesn’t really matter what the medium is if we have the right skill set for it. Our books are still primarily all about the words and the pictures, and that’s the stuff comic people really know about.
IGN: What's the genesis of a project like, from initial idea to execution of all the "motion" aspects?
Abernathy: It’s remarkably similar to a print book in that it begins with an idea. Developing the concept into a script and finding the right artist(s) to produce it. There are certain delivery specs that separate a motion book from a print book, but the delivery of assets then go to the Builder who, using our proprietary software, produces a first “Motion Book” build that evolves into what you can read on the various platforms now.
Sharp: You do start to evolve your thinking once you have the hang of it! There are so many things I haven’t done yet that I’ve figured out in concept but haven’t executed…and I think we’re going to see some amazing innovations that none of us have predicted. It’s really in the hands of the creators — writer, artist, builder — to push at the boundaries. It’s still very much a pioneering space.
IGN: One of the biggest things about the app is that the stories are free of charge. Why go free-to-read, and how do you monetize something like this?
Abernathy: We were funded initially for an adoption approach and we’ve been very fortunate to offer our content for free on the iOS app to date (it’ll be a year next month). We do have a plan on monetizing our content so it won’t always be free and there are other avenues for future revenue, including Third Party/User Generated Content and the ultimate release of the Motion Book Tool, which is the proprietary software that we build all our episodes on.
IGN: You're announcing two new books, War In Heaven and Sherlock Holmes: The Greek Interpreter -- can you talk about how each of those projects wound up at Madefire?
Abernathy: I love the Sherlock Holmes catalog and this wasn’t my first go at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s greatest creation — I edited the pair of Victorian Undead series at DC that pitted the great detective against varying forms of the undead.
I always had a deep desire to produce adaptations of his short stories, though, and it was one of the earliest ideas I began lobbying for when they brought me on board. The length was a perfect fit for a Motion Book episode and I felt like there hasn’t been a definitive digital version… yet.
Sharp: I’m just still pinching myself to be working with one of my all-time favorite artists, Bill Sienkiewicz — so influential! His work has informed so much of my own over the years, as you can see in my Captain Stone is Missing… Motion Book.
I’m also a fan of the original Arthur Conan Doyle books, so it’s doubly exciting. This is also pushing deeper into the illustrated text area as a motion book, so less of a comic book vibe.
War in Heaven is by Ricardo Pinto — a truly ground-breaking author. His trilogy The Stone Dance of the Chameleon is vast and extraordinary — and Adrian Smith — a brilliant illustrator of the epic. And that’s what this is — an epic story! When we saw the pages we were blown away — they’re extraordinary! Very unique and powerful. It’s a modern retelling of Paradise Lost, with a dark, contemporary twist. Amazing work.
IGN: Both of those new books are adaptations or reinterpretations of classic literature. How does the motion aspect of Madefire help present these stories in a new way?
Abernathy: The way I see it, it’s a way to introduce an immersive reading experience to a whole new audience of digital readers.
Sharp: Yes, that the thing — it’s really immersive. You’re drawn into the worlds these books present — especially if you’re wearing headphones! You get pulled in. It’s a pretty intimate experience in that way. And there are possibilities with timings and emphases that weren’t available to writers and artists before. It’s a wonderful platform for classic material.
IGN: You have some announcements on some of your on-going titles, too, right?
Abernathy: We do! There are some exciting things in the works:
Sharp: Having these stories available to the deviantART community, too, is a real coup. With more user generated stories that are creator-owned coming out of that space also... Well, it's exciting! I think we're going to see a whole new batch of innovative iterations that cover all kinds of subject matter, both popular and niche.
It's going to be a hell of a year for us!
Joey is a Senior Editor at IGN and a comic book creator. Follow Joey on Twitter @JoeyEsposito, or find him on IGN at Joey-IGN. After Man of Steel comes out, his life will lose all sense of direction and purpose.
PopCap is teasing crossovers for Plants vs. Zombies. In posts on the franchise’s official Facebook page, PopCap showed off the Mass Effect-themed “Grass Effect” and Dead Space-themed “Dead Face,” including the images below.
PopCap announced earlier this month that a Plants vs. Zombies sequel is coming in July, and also recently released Plants vs. Zombies Adventure. It’s not currently known which game this crossover content might appear in, but both images include an “#EAE3” hashtag, so expect more news from E3 in June.
EA’s E3 2013 press conference will take place on Monday, June 10th at 1:00 p.m. Pacific.
Until we find out more, IGN has provided the following list of better Plants vs. Zombie/EA crossover puns:
Have some more puns for us? Tweet at @IGN with the hashtag #PunsVsZombies.
The Splinter Cell series will continue onto next-gen platforms, according to a suggestive statement from Splinter Cell: Blacklist art director Scott Lee. "For next-gen there are a lot of plans in the works," he told ArabicGamers, "obviously we can't talk about that at the moment but I definitely look forward to seeing Sam in new adventures, bigger and better as we go along."
Lee said definitively that "Sam will be back," and that Ubisoft supports Splinter Cell as "a big and very important franchise" for the publisher.
Recently, IGN asked Ubisoft Toronto's Jade Raymond about the possibility of a next-gen version of Splinter Cell: Blacklist. "We have a very good PC version coming out that’s been announced. So I can’t say that’s not something we consider, obviously. The PC version has a lot of optimized graphics and a lot of other optimized features. It’s also a version where we’re planning on some additional features for online. There’s some additional community and other online features we won’t have in the console versions. It’s 360, PS3, and PC. Those are the three that we’re focused on right now. The next ones, we’ll just have to see. Let’s get these out the door first.”
IGN has asked Ubisoft Toronto for comment on the future of the series, and will update with any response we receive.
Every day hundreds of new apps make their debut on the App Store, and hundreds more are updated or reduced in price. We have sifted through the noise and highlighted those select few that might be worth your attention. For more mobile game trailers, reviews and news be sure to Subscribe to IGNMobileGames on YouTube.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – ($9.99)
Bioware's classic RPG is making an encore appearance in the App Store – but then, you probably already knew that. We've covered this release in gameplay videos and given it a full written review already, but, for completion's sake, we're highlighting it here in the ASU as well. It's a great port, so don't miss it!
Anthill – (Free)
It's tactical trail defense as you guide a squadron of army ants in protecting the pathways between their anthill homes. Justin reviewed this one back in December 2011, so take a look at his thoughts here.
Ninja Wrath – (Free)
This slick-looking cel-shaded brawler headlined an ASU with its debut two weeks ago, but it's had some technical problems since. The developers are giving it away for free while they work on an update to squash the bugs – so grab it now, then just until the update goes live to start playing it.
Blosics HD – (Free)
Blocks + Physics = Blosics. Cool chain reactions happen in this one, which is packed with over 120 levels of puzzling fun.
That’s it for today! Email subscriptions to the App Store Update are still just one sign-up away, right here:
A listing for Dragon Age III: Inquisition has appeared on Amazon Italy and suggests that the title is headed to Xbox One. The listing contains no pricing info and lists a placeholder date of January 1, 2020.
Dragon Age III was announced in September and specifically mentioned the Frostbite 2 engine, leading many to assume it was a current-gen game. Later, an employee resume suggested it had shifted to next-gen, but that’s never been officially confirmed by EA.
Earlier this week, Amazon Italy also listed Mirror’s Edge 2, suggesting it could have insight into some of EA’s upcoming announcements.
We’ve reached out to EA for comment on the listing. Expect more information on Dragon Age III at EA’s E3 2013 press conference on Monday, June 10th at 1:00 p.m. Pacific.
The Muppets director James Bobin is reportedly in early talks to helm Disney's sequel to their blockbuster Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton directed the 2010 original.
According to Variety, the sequel is titled Into the Looking Glass. Linda Woolverton, the screenwriter of the original film, penned the sequel's script.
Bobin's next release is the sequel The Muppets ... Again!. His past credits include Flight of the Conchords.
The Hollywood Reporter claims it's "unclear at this stage if Alice’s Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska will return."
The game engine behind Naughty Dog's The Last of Us and Uncharted series will power the studio's next-generation games. Game director Bruce Straley told Digital Spy that the existing development framework will help Naughty Dog avoid the struggles of creating an entirely new engine. "We could have started with something there and then built off of it and only changed the pieces and parts as we needed, when we needed," Straley said. "And that really caused a lot of turmoil."
In the transition from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3, "We learned our lesson in saying, as we move into development into next-gen, we want to take our current engine, port it immediately over as is and say, 'Okay, we have a great AI system, we have a good rendering system'. We have all these things that already work. Only when we hit a wall will we say, 'When do we need to change something? When do we need to scale it?"
In the coming years, Naughty Dog will iterate and improve on its current proprietary engine to make the most out of the PlayStation 4.
Recently, Electronic Arts announced it would use the new Frostbite Engine 3 for its upcoming action games, and the Ignite Engine for sports titles. Square-Enix, meanwhile, will use its new Luminous Engine to create next-gen software.
If you’re above about the age of 23, I’m betting there’s a good chance you have, at some point in your life, been obsessed with Pokemon trading cards and/or Magic: The Gathering. Recently, with no prior warning, the games industry seems to have renewed its love with the idea of trading cards – especially on tablets. From the Injustice mobile game to Tekken Card Tournament as well as the likes of Hearthstone, the several digital editions of Magic: The Gathering and even Steam Trading Cards, developers seem to be prepared to acknowledge that there’s a gap in the market for card games, at least to some extent.
Sadly, though, most of what’s on offer are card battle games gated with microtransactions rather than trading card games that capture the robust nuances of their physical predecessors.
It’s against this backdrop that Cory Jones, CEO of trading card specialist Cryptozoic started his Kickstarter campaign for Hex: Shards of Fate. Though the search for funding only officially began three weeks ago, in truth the project’s been in development for over two years. It shows; even the alpha walkthrough we were treated to last week looked impressive. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that the campaign has already smashed its $300,000 target; with just over a week to go, the total raised currently sits at $1.47 million.
“I see all these different casual, casual, casual abstractions of trading card games,” Cory explains. “All the things that make TCGs robust and complex scare these companies so they say, ‘Hey let’s make the version for everyone!’ You end up with card battle games, which really aren’t trading card games at all. What’s still missing is the real TCG, the one that features all the bells and whistles of a trading card game. That’s what we’re going to do.”
You end up with card battle games, which really aren’t trading card games at all. What’s still missing is the real TCG, the one that features all the bells and whistles of a trading card game. That’s what we’re going to do.
If all of this sounds a bit too inaccessible for you, never fear; one of the benefits of blending genres to create the first MMOTCG is that it’ll enable Cryptozoic to build a strong story-driven single-player PvE tutorial, in addition to creating a robust, competitive PvP environment for those who struggle to find time to make it to real-world tournaments.
Instantly, it’s this strong single-player “PvE” content that looks set to set the game apart from the (currently non-existent) competition. When the game launches, it’ll do so with around 40 dungeons that you’ll be able to progress through. Alongside the seven or eight main storyline dungeons you’ll encounter naturally whilst levelling, there’s a host of others that will provide varying challenges to mix things up and hone your skills.
“We’ve created a bunch of things that are standard TCG play with different sorts of parameters on top of it,” he reveals. “Then we created a bunch of dungeons that are puzzley, so we’ve set up puzzles for you, and you need to work your way around these and set up decks to take advantage of the conditions in play.”
One such special dungeon not heavily discussed before is an annual arena, where every year two conceptual creatures will be pitched against each other with players choosing one to champion. The first of these will feature giant fire-breathing Squirrel Titans and Dinosaurs. Once you’ve selected which one you want to represent, you’ll be given a deck themed to that faction, and be tasked with playing through the whole season. Wins will accrue you points that can be used to customise the deck to some extent and once the season’s over, victors will get an exclusive PvE card representative of their side…but the other faction’s card will be lost to them forever.
We’re not trying to monetise this with ‘power’, or your ability to play whatever else. The only things that we’re going to be selling are packs of cards, starter decks and this VIP programme.
The notion is that Cory and his team can create a game that will, as he puts it, “train people who’ve never played a TCG to become people who love and are good at them”. But intimidating complexity isn’t the only dissuading factor that stops people from jumping headfirst into the hobby; the prohibitive cost of getting the latest cards and making sure your deck is up to date is just as problematic.
While you’ll have to spend some money if you’re seriously interested in the PvP side of the game, which could be worth it considering real-cash prize tournaments are planned, the good news is that PvE at least will be completely free-to-play. Cory explains, “You can play the game on the PvE side without spending any money. I mean, I hope you spend money; we need the game to be successful so we can keep investing in it! But you can play the PvE side without spending any money and even collect some new packs, though there’s a limited number and it’s not a repeatable process.
“We’re not trying to monetise this with ‘power’, or your ability to play whatever else. The only things that we’re going to be selling are packs of cards, starter decks and this VIP programme that for $4 a month will give you a pack a week that’s of $8 value, and also give you access to a special VIP tournament, and some other little fun cosmetic functionality things.”
Considering Cryptozoic is adamant that players will never have to wait any longer than four months for complete new card sets along with additional dungeons or tournaments, four bucks a month for a regular shot at the latest additions to the game is hardly likely to break the bank.
If I have 200,000 people who are playing, that would be incredible, amazing. More importantly though it means every time you want to be in a tournament, it’ll be a big tournament and every time you want a five man draft, it’s firing right away.
Additionally, the team is adamant that they want to capture the magic sense of anticipation that comes with opening a pack of cards and seeing what it contains. To this end, booster packs will also drop chests colour-coded by rarity, which will contain cards, equipment, recipes and crafting materials. There’ll even be the chance of another pack of cards, so you could buy a pack and the receive another pack for free from the chest inside that pack, and then potentially even get a third pack from the chest inside the second.
As he explains, “That physical experience of opening a pack and seeing what’s in it is just so enjoyable and so much a part of why I love TCGs that in lieu of the kinetic component of it in a digital TCG, I wanted to make sure that digitally, sound effects, particles and all the bells and whistles are over the top.”
With funding assured, it’s clear this is only the beginning for Hex. Already, the topline story for the game and races have been outlined, and Cory admits it’s looking like it’ll take at least seven years to fully populate the 3D globe that we were shown in the Kickstarter video. There’s a long way to go between now and then; what does he want in the meantime?
“If I have 200,000 people who are playing, that would be incredible, amazing. More importantly though it means every time you want to be in a tournament, it’ll be a big tournament and every time you want a five man draft, it’s firing right away. Making sure that people have people to play with is so important. One of the sort of unintended outcomes of the Kickstarter was that it really started to build us this great community, and this kernel of community is going to be the backbone of everything we do.”
There’s still time to back the project if you’re interested, and keep your eyes on IGN for more on Hex in the weeks and months to come.
Hello, you lovely, beautiful people, and welcome to the IGNUK podcast.
This week our numbers have been depleted but don't worry the quality hasn't suffered one iota – that remains impeccably shoddy.
So join Stu, Keza, and Krupa as they discuss everything from next-gen launch prices to Bid TV, Arrested Development to the philosophy of internet memes. There's even time to talk about Peter Molyneux's lifechanging box.
That's all on this week's podcast, so do yourself a favour and download it now. Go on, it's Friday and you deserve a treat:
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Call of Duty creator Infinity Ward seriously considered working on something completely new after Modern Warfare 3 before eventually deciding to stick with the series.
In an interview with MCV, executive producer Mark Rubin explained that deciding to move on to a new game with a new engine, characters and even a new world wasn't settled upon quickly.
"Not a hard decision, but a long decision," he explained. "We don’t get a chance when making a game to think about the next one until we are done actually making that first game.
We could have done something else, but we wanted to make Call of Duty and we wanted to create a new universe, or a new story at least.
"So when we finished Modern Warfare 3, we had this big brainstorming session that lasted for weeks. Everybody gets to come up with ideas of what we want to do, not just what game we want to do, but moments in games.
"We all really knew we wanted to continue making Call of Duty. We could have done something else, but we wanted to make Call of Duty and we wanted to create a new universe, or a new story at least. We wanted new characters and new experiences.
"The easy thing would have been – as we had finished the arc of Modern Warfare 1, 2 and 3 – to start a new arc within that same universe. That was the first step. But due to a lot of the changes we wanted to make with this new world, it really dictated out that we needed to make something that wasn’t Modern Warfare."
As it stands at the moment, Infinity Ward alternates making entries in the Call of Duty series with Treyarch, the studio responsible for last year's Black Ops II. It's unclear what would have happened if they'd decided to pass up making a new Call of Duty game; would Activision have brought in a new developer or would the series have had to miss an annualised entry?
What do you think? Are you glad Infinity Ward decided to return and mix things up a bit by leaving Modern Warfare behind, or would you have preferred to see something completely new from the studio? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on November 5, and next-gen consoles sometime after launch.